Welcome to my first ‘Reviewing Recent Reads’ post. I have been much more focused on reading in January than posting for many reasons but mainly because I haven’t had a good session in so long and I needed to just get lost in lots of books without worrying about the details. I read quite a few books in quick succession and I had an amazing run. I was dealing with a tremendous book hangover after reading Master Of Sorrows by Justin Call when I went straight into Sky In The Deep by Adrienne Young which was just as outstanding! Then I felt like a bit of Sherlock so I plunged into the Further Adventures series with David Stuart Davies and his Instrument Of Death which was yet another quality read.
I had bought Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to read to my son but he isn’t quite there yet. I had briefly heard Stephen Fry reading it on Audible and that put me in the mood for some HP and I ended up reading it in one sitting. I was in Tesco when I saw they had the other books on offer so I bought the lot and quickly read Chamber Of Secrets (again in one sitting) and I am now on Prisoner Of Azkaban. I have also started The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Hanrahan which so far is pretty badass.
I have decided to throw together some short reviews to discuss these books and why they were all so awesome and definitely worth your time. I am tempted to do reviews like this full time but I also know I will soon miss doing my lengthy, all consuming reviews very quickly. Let me know if you prefer long or short reviews! Enjoy the post.
Master Of Sorrows is one of the most outstanding beginnings to a fantasy series I have ever read and I almost read this in one sitting. Justin Call’s eye for fantasy is so pure and captivating that I was lost in these pages from the gut-wrenchingly emotional prologue (Go Sodar!) to the liquid rage finale that left my jaw firmly on the floor. Annev is an unforgettable lead character that is conflicted in many ways. Saved by a priest when he was just a newborn baby, he lives a lie that saved his life. In the face of his final test, this truth may bring him, and everything Sodar has worked for, to his knees.
I like the fact that the blurb acknowledges the familiar fantasy outline but I am happy to announce that JT dodges even the most cunning cliches and brings us a story that kept on delivering story, character development and themes. I kept waiting for the usual moments to pop up but events kept rolling unpredictably forward, fuelling the ever increasing tension, risk and power that resides within the narrative. The idea that Annev is destined to destroy the world is acutely absurd when you meet the young man but as the narrative unfolds it becomes increasingly difficult to be so sure. It is an age old paradox, does knowing your future lead you to it or can it be avoided? I cannot wait to find out when the second book comes out in the unfairly distant future.
Sky In The Deep is a blazing, raw and visceral battle for honour, for family and unity. Adrienne Young grabbed me with both hands and plunged me headfirst into this narrative. Opening on a battlefield, a war between rival clans, the Aska and the Riki are fighting each other to honour their gods and the endless feud the lays between them. Every 5 years, these clans spill each others blood. Eelyn is Aska and she fights for her brother who was taken by the Riki the last time they met on this very battlefield. When Eelyn sees her brother Iri fighting alongside the Riki, she cannot believe her eyes.
When Iri and his new brother Fiske save her from slaughter in battle and take her back to their village, they rob her of her pride and honour. An honour that will allow her entry into Solbjorg and gain a peaceful afterlife with her dear mother. Eelyn has only ever known hate for her new hosts and they feel the same way. Eelyn is torn is every direction. She can’t believe her brother is still alive and doesn’t understand how he is able to call the Riki his family, people she would gladly kill the first chance she gets. Before she can exact her revenge and escape the village, it is attacked by an even more fearsome clan, an all consuming clan that knows no humanity. Eelyn is forced to consider a truce if she ever wants to see her father alive. Can two clans who have fought for longer than history itself unite to survive this savage new threat?
Adrienne Young is an explosive new talent in the Norse fantasy genre and her prose cut deeper than any sharpened axe ever would. I was tense for this whole novel experience. I was right next to Eelyn for every trial, every tribulation and internal struggle. Eelyn’s struggle between her base instinct to kill every Riki on site and her emotional connection to her brother and his new family was intense and hard to watch at times. It was interesting to see how Eelyn wasn’t scared for her life but her honour and her chance to see her mother again in the afterlife. This story is brutal, there is no doubt about that, but the connections between the characters was very well executed and developed and I held onto every thread.
If you like narrative’s with blood, sweat and tears and blazing raw emotions at its heart then Sky In The Deep is absolutely for you. I flew through this book in no time, wanting to see how Eelyn manages to overcome her fears and connect with her enemy. I would love to see Eelyn character again but there is a good chance that this is a standalone story. I saw a lot of hype around this book online before I read it. It is completely justified.
David Stuart Davies’ The Instrument Of Death is a superb addition to the Sherlock cannon that had me on the edge of my seat for its entirety. Exploring the use of hypnosis to murder is not an unusual basis for a narrative but in DSD’s hands and channelled through his excellent villain, Dr Caligari, it was a genuinely enticing effort. Davies knows and understands the ‘consulting detective’ intimately and that knowledge flows onto the page. Sherlock is always in need of a challenging case and these murders are more than enough to pull him in. But when Dr Caligari sees Sherlock as a threat, he becomes Caligari’s new obsession with disastrous results. If you enjoy Sherlock and love to see his narrative explored in new and interesting ways then you must give The Instrument Of Death a go. The stakes are high and the fact that the story is influenced by the huge psychological developments happening at the time makes for an interesting read.
Don’t judge me! I bought this to read to my son but he is a tad too young! Then I picked it up and started reading it and just didn’t stop… I am not going to review Harry Potter, I am just going to enjoy every second of it for a change. I have all the DVDs as well. I might have to start watching them too. Am I obsessed? A little…
I said don’t judge me! It is interesting to see how much you forget about a series until you pick it up and it all floods back. I don’t know how many times I read this book as a kid but it almost felt like I was reading it for the first time this time around. This was released in the 90s! God I am old… Where’s my hot water bottle?
Thank you for coming by to see what I have been reading. I am aiming to read so many more books this year than I did in 2018 and I want to keep the reviews flowing. Buying all the HP books was not a smart move but I am reading them so fast that I can’t stop to worry about the damning effect it will have on my ability to write posts. Nevermind! Pick up Master Of Sorrows, Sky In The Deep and The Instrument Of Death as you won’t regret a single moment of any of them. I am having a stellar start to 2019 and I hope you all are too.